I love 1946. Because not only does it have a slam dunk Best Picture winner, but it also has the sentimental favorite (kind of like 1939, with Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz. Only 1939 has several more sentimental favorites). The Best Years of Our Lives is, given the year it was made, an absolute no-brainer perfect decision for Best Picture. William Wyler wins Best Director for the film as well, which makes perfect sense. Frederic March also wins Best Actor for the film, which was also a great choice.
Now, Harold Russell winning Best Supporting Actor for the film, however, was not a great choice. At least by my standards. I know he was an actual veteran who actually lost his hands during the war, but it doesn’t change the fact that the performance just isn’t very good. At least, as compared to Charles Coburn in the Green Years and Claude Rains in Notorious. Coburn gave my favorite performance in the category, but given that he beat Rains for it in 1943, I don’t see how they don’t immediately give the award to Claude Rains I know there’s the sweep thing, but — it’s Claude Rains. The whole affair just baffles me.
The other awards that didn’t go to The Best Years of Our Lives were Best Supporting Actress, which went to Anne Baxter for The Razor’s Edge, which not only was a great decision in the category, but also a great one historically, since Baxter earned an Oscar for her performance in All About Eve alone, and then this award, which was several years in the making.
BEST ACTRESS – 1946
And the nominees were…
Olivia de Havilland, To Each His Own
Celia Johnson, Brief Encounter
Jennifer Jones, Duel in the Sun
Rosalind Russell, Sister Kenny
Jane Wyman, The Yearling (more…)